Help me go natural with toiletries...
April 15, 2015 6:53 PM   Subscribe

About six months ago I started loosely following curly girl by using Dr Bronners and botanical conditioner on my hair. It looks great and I want to go more natural with my toiletries.

i use crystal deodorant but don't love it. Any other ideas for non-antiperspirant deodorants that work? I just bought some coconut oil. Is that something that can replace my 800-ingredient body lotion? Please let me know if you use it for anything else. Are there better for me/ more natural versions of nail polish, hair gel or other toiletries? I have bad skin so I don't use much makeup. I'd be happy for specific products recommendations or basic DIY recipes. Thank you!
posted by the twistinside to Grab Bag (19 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
When you do wear makeup, to remove it just use a little olive oil. Work it into your makeup and then wipe it off. You can wash your face afterwards like normal or depending on your skin type put a little more olive oil on and work it in and gently wipe off any excess.
posted by Mizu at 6:57 PM on April 15, 2015

I use argan oil as a facial moisturizer. I specifically like the Josie Maran "light" version as it really is less heavy than the regular argan oil.
posted by joan_holloway at 6:59 PM on April 15, 2015 [1 favorite]

Jojoba oil can be used as part of the oil cleanse method. Jojoba, on its own, is a decent moisturizer.
posted by jadepearl at 7:10 PM on April 15, 2015 [1 favorite]

I don't have sensitive skin, so ymmv, but:

I use almond oil and cornmeal to wash my face -- mix in the palm of my hand, rub it on, scrub some with the cornmeal, then rinse/steam off with a very hot washcloth.

As a moisturizer I use Mountain Rose Herbs' Wild Rose Facial Oil (scroll down).

For deodorant, I quite like Tom's of Maine Unscented Roll-on Deodorant. As far as I know there's no anti-perspirant in it. It does have a light scent but it's citrusy and fades quickly. And yes, there are plenty of legit criticisms to be made about Tom's as a company, but this deodorant works for me.

I've also made some very pleasant lip balm from beeswax and almond oil, poured into old lip balm tubes, but I can't find the ratio I used. But just google around for, like, diy lip balm beeswax almond oil.
posted by librarina at 7:16 PM on April 15, 2015

Coconut oil can cause breakouts in some, so test before you use it on facial skin, but I've found it to be a very good all-over body moisturizer. i've used both argan oil and olive oil on my face (with olive oil, you'll want to blot off the excess after letting it settle in for a bit, and probably only use at night unless you're very very dry.)
posted by blue suede stockings at 7:23 PM on April 15, 2015

Seconding jojoba oil; when I run out of my regular lotion or moisturizer, that's what I use. Like all oils, it can go a little stale eventually, though, so just a heads up if you don't use it regularly.

Other natural and/or organic toiletries I like: Jāsön cocoa butter and hemp hand and body lotions, Yes to Cucumbers soothing daily calming moisturizer, Pacifica Color Quench lip tints, and Burt's Bees beeswax lip balm.
posted by limeonaire at 7:34 PM on April 15, 2015

I use this recipe for deodorant, and this recipe for dry shampoo. The deodorant keeps me smelling like nothing, when even certain-dri and others failed. And yes, jojoba oil as a deep conditioner for your hair.
posted by umwhat at 7:34 PM on April 15, 2015 [1 favorite]

I use baking soda and corn starch 2 to 3 for deodorant, with some essential oil thrown in (I like bergamot or lavender). I like it lots and I'm only a smelly person when I have my period.

Per Mr. LLama.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 7:50 PM on April 15, 2015

re umwhat's recipe, that's pretty close really, I think it depends on how much time you are willing to invest in creating these things and how serious you are. I'm getting away with it, but last night I had the very clear impression I wasn't getting away with it, because with my period and fourteen hours after application I was A Stinky Person so I threw more on.

Most of the time I can get away with one part cornstarch to two parts baking soda.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 7:55 PM on April 15, 2015

What you eat will also influence how you smell prior to deoderant. Does your food have 800 ingredients? Is garlic your favorite root vegetable? That sort of thing.

But yes. Cornstarch + baking soda.
posted by aniola at 10:31 PM on April 15, 2015

"i use crystal deodorant but don't love it. Any other ideas for non-antiperspirant deodorants that work?"

Super pricey in the US:
posted by yoyo_nyc at 2:04 AM on April 16, 2015

x. You could try making homemade deodorant with coconut oil. If you have a look around online, there are a lot of recipes out there, involving ingredients like baking soda and arrowroot powder. I'd definitely look for a recipe that includes an oil like almond, or castor, or another moisturising kind of oil, as I found that the one I made (which was basically just coconut oil, baking soda, and cornstarch) was a bit drying. I also personally wouldn't include any essential oils, because it's not really necessary and they can be irritating.
The finished product is not an antiperspirant, but it is highly effective at neutralising any potential B.O!

x. If you use coconut oil for moisturising, I wouldn't recommend using it on your face, as it can cause acne.

x. N-thing argan oil as a facial moisturiser.
posted by kinddieserzeit at 2:10 AM on April 16, 2015

Face mask: Use a vegetable peeler to peel long thin strips of cucumber, then drape over your face.
Coconut / olive oil: Coat on ends of hair before shampooing to prevent split ends.
posted by travellingincognito at 4:42 AM on April 16, 2015

Ooh, I love this question! (I'm vegan and completely obsessed with natural bath/body products.) If you're open to a subscription service, I highly recommend Petit Vour. They honestly have everything you want and their boxes are amazingly well-curated. Vegan Cuts has a similar box, but PV has thrilled me like nothing else.

Deodorant: Meow Meow Tweet Tweet Lavender Deodorant Cream. Aluminum deodorant gives me blisters so I can't wear any kind of non-hippie deodorant anyway, but I swear to you that this is the holy grail notwithstanding. Seven ingredients, all of which you could eat with no ill effects. The consistency is like cake frosting and no other deodorant has worked better for me. Prior to discovering MMTT, my favorite natural deodorant was Schmidt's.

Nail polish: This is kind of a wash insofar as ostensibly 'natural' ingredients go but you can find 3-free and 5-free polishes (explanation) pretty much everywhere. Pacifica makes 7-free polishes and 100% Pure says their polish is 10-free. Lots of indie polishes on Etsy are 3- and 5-free, my favorite is Indigo Bananas.

Lotion: For your hands, 100% Pure Hand Buttercream. For the rest, Sevi Pumpkin Seed Body Lotion or Ellovi Butter.

Lip balm: Hurraw, Ellovi, or Metropolitan Soap Company.

Moisturizer: I'm a facial oil convert and my favorite is Pelle Beauty Stellar Multitasking Facial Oil. Seven active ingredients plus two essential oils.

Shampoo/conditioner: I alternate between Sevi's Pumpkin Seed (super deep-conditioning, all but eliminates frizz) and EVOLVh (smells AMAZING).

Coconut oil: Put it in/on everything. Hair, nails, cuticles, face, body, and food (especially popcorn). It is basically magic in a jar.

I can't be arsed to make anything remotely complicated, but I love to make these things: Sugar scrub is just 1 part oil (coconut, jojoba, sweet almond, sunflower, even olive) to 2 parts sugar with a few drops of essential oil or vanilla extract splashed in if you like it scented. Sea salt spray can be made with salt, water, and aloe vera gel. You can make two-ingredient hair gel with water and flaxseed or gelatin. And if you melt together equal parts shea butter, cocoa butter, and coconut oil in a double boiler, then add a couple of drops of peppermint essential oil, put it in the freezer for an hour to chill and then whip it with a hand or stand mixer, you can use it everywhere (lips, hands, body, hair) and you'll smell like a York Peppermint Patty.
posted by divined by radio at 5:58 AM on April 16, 2015 [5 favorites]

RE deodorant, washing my ‘pits with baking soda in the shower and then putting some on while it’s still damp works better for me than anything else, and doesn’t require mixing anything. It all varies according to body chemistry though. Tom’s deodorant makes me smell WORSE, for example.
posted by metasarah at 6:36 AM on April 16, 2015

My motivations are different (I don't like the smell of a lot of commercial products, and I like making stuff), but I make a bunch of different toiletries that work pretty well.

I think I must have pretty sensitive skin, because I've had problems using olive or coconut oil long term, so I looked up non-comedogenic oils and have largely settled on sunflower as my base oil for most things, in part because it is cheap and readily available. You just buy a big bottle of sunflower cooking oil at the grocery store. You can search for others if you want to get fancier or just want to test out some different types. I decant some into a bottle with one of those bar pourers in it and keep it in my bathroom to use as an after shower moisturizer, and I also combine it with a little castor oil and beeswax to make cold cream.

(Hit me up if you need cold cream instructions. It's not super-difficult, but I've found a couple little tricks and things I didn't see in the online recipes I've found.)

I don't currently make lotions because I found a commercial one I really like, but that's totally do-able with pretty much the same ingredients as cold cream.

For deodorant, I use a similar recipe as others here. I use about equal parts of baking soda and cornstarch, then add a few drops of tea tree oil plus some mint and orange essential oils to make it smell nice. And recently, I've just been adding some oil to make it into a paste, as the powder version gets a little messy and wasteful.

I also have been doing a 'no poo' thing for many years now. I just wash my hair with baking soda in water, and then rinse with diluted apple cider vinegar (leave it on for about a minute, then rinse it out) every two to three days. There was a breaking in period, but after a week or two, my hair was fine. I did have an issue once when I was in an area with hard water and my hair got really greasy, so I shampooed it that time. That's been my only issue with that so far.

I used to make soap as well, but it's pretty labor intensive and a little scary what with the lye, so I haven't made that a permanent thing. That's doable as well, though, if you're interested, and it's pretty cool.
posted by ernielundquist at 10:22 AM on April 16, 2015

Seconding the recommendation for Schmidt's deodorant. I also really like the ones from Lavanila.

You might want to check out the book Skin Cleanse by Adina Grigore (the founder of SW Basics) - it includes a lot of recipes for natural beauty products.
posted by toby_ann at 3:47 PM on April 16, 2015

I'm not a fan of coconut oil-based deodorants, commercial or homemade, as over time they apply a noticeably darker coconut oil stain to any fabric even remotely close to my armpits. If you wear clothing which doesn't come in close contact with your pits (which seems possible if you wear women's clothing--men's shirts just tend to really get in my business) this may not be a problem for you.

Also, for what it's worth, the Tom's deodorants which actually work give me a terrible armpit rash after a week or two.

I used the Weleda spray deodorants for years, but recently switched to EO (which seems like a pretty blatant imitation of their formula) for cost reasons. The vetiver-scented "cool" variety works best for me. Its scent is strong right after application but is barely noticeable for the rest of the day.

On a related note, I find that a good 40% of keeping myself odor-free is wearing all-cotton shirts and making sure that they're actually clean. Switching from liquid detergents to Biokleen powder made a noticeable difference.
posted by pullayup at 4:32 PM on April 16, 2015

You can use witch hazel to wash your face instead of soap or cleaner. A big bottle costs a couple bucks and lasts forever. What you do is moisten a cotton ball with it and just wipe your face with it. It dries itself in seconds. However I noticed after using it daily for a period of time that my face naturally got oiler to compensate for the witch hazel so it is best used a few times a week/whatever, not rely on it daily. I like to use it when my face gets sweaty or oily for whatever reason in the middle of the day instead of pinning my hair back and washing my face with cleanser.

Note it semlls a little iffy but the smell goes away as soon as it dries.
posted by atinna at 8:05 PM on April 16, 2015

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